What does it take to start a gambling business?
Before starting any type of business, you should first analyse the market, research your competitors and study the rules of the business. It is also worth collecting as much information about the market situation as possible, and then drawing up as detailed a business plan as possible.
Particular attention should be paid to the specifics of business: study the experience of those companies that are already operating, as well as legislative, legal aspects and peculiarities of gambling regulation in the jurisdiction of a particular state. In many countries of the world, gambling business is regulated by separate special laws or it is prohibited at all and may lead to criminal liability for the organisers.
In Austria, all types of gambling business are quite legal, and the organizer can get a license if he meets certain criteria. Therefore, before opening a land-based casino, you need to understand whether your company complies with the legal requirements.
Gambling is legal in Austria
The Deputy Minister of Finance of Austria is convinced that it is better to legalize casinos, to create a certain statute and order so that the consumers of this kind of service would be fully protected.
If gambling business will exist outside the law – it will be almost impossible to control it, therefore the state treasury may suffer (it will not receive funds from the operators).
It is important to note that approximately 7 per cent of the gambling market belongs to slot machines. They are easy to control, in addition, there are certain rules that must be complied with:
- compulsory testing;
- being inspected by state controllers;
- Compliance with all state requirements.
If any violations of the law are discovered during the inspection, the case is immediately transferred to a special laboratory for investigation.
Getting a gaming license in Austria
In order for a business (irrespective of its type) to be considered legitimate, it is necessary to obtain a permit in the form of a license. Obtaining a gambling license in Austria is a prerequisite for gambling activities.
It is a basic requirement for all activities, which is thoroughly and strictly checked and monitored by governments of civilized countries. Particular attention is paid to gambling activities, as they are not permitted in all countries.
Gambling business permits are mainly issued by offshore countries. Special commissions are set up to regulate, inspect and control gambling activities. Such a commission also exists in Austria.
Thus, the acquisition of a gambling license must be approached responsibly and consciously, after studying the legal framework regulating gambling activities.
Buying commercial real estate in Austria for a casino
Austria is one of the most economically and politically stable European countries. Having your own commercial property here is a good help and a source of stable earnings. But you should remember that acquiring any property in Austria is a long and complicated process. Nevertheless, the benefits will be worth the effort. Not only will you get a steady income, but you will also be protected by the law.
Your nationality will not be the least important factor when buying real estate. All citizens of the EU, Switzerland or the European Economic Area are entitled to purchase any Austrian property without having to obtain any visas or permits.
According to local legislation, the purchase of commercial real estate in Austria by non-EU citizens is strictly limited. The specific rules and requirements depend on the region you choose and are set by regional authorities. Often such transactions are either prohibited or subject to approval by the local government commission. If you are still interested in buying, any estate agent in Austria can provide you with information on the local requirements and conditions for each particular region.
Territorial restrictions and rights of foreign investors
Foreigners without a residence permit from Austria or any other EU country are not allowed to purchase Austrian real estate. Moreover, even with a residence permit / permanent residence permit the buyer must obtain a permit from the local authorities – Grundverkehrskomission. The application and the final decision of the authorities can take between 1.5 to 3 months.
Steps in the purchasing/selling process
Even with a residence permit and the permission of the local authorities, a foreigner can not choose any object he likes. Commercial properties available for purchase by foreigners include casinos, hotels in tourist areas, mini-hotels, holiday homes, guest houses in thermal spas, office buildings and commercial properties within city limits.
In Austria, clear rights and responsibilities between all parties of the purchase/sale transaction: seller, buyer, lawyer and realtor are established and legislated. The first thing you need to do is to choose an appropriate property under the casino in the category available to you. Once the property has been selected, it is advisable to hire a lawyer who can check:
Whether your potential property complies with the town planning regulations of the area.
Whether the seller is the actual owner of the property as registered with the Land Registry.
Whether there are any tax and utility exemptions attached to the building.
The next step is to contact a realtor who will help you write a formal offer and send it to the seller. If the seller is happy with the proposal, you can proceed with the preparation of the agreement. The contract of sale can be drawn up by a lawyer or a notary.
Immediately after signing the contract, the buyer must pay a deposit of at least 10% of the stated value of the property. The money will be placed in a trust or deposit account and must remain there until the transaction is completed. The fact of the deposit transfer must be registered at the local registry office.
The next stage is to register your newly acquired property. This will cost you approximately 4.5% of the contract price. On average, it can take between 9 and 32 days to register a property in Austria, depending on the region.
Keep in mind that once the deposit has been paid, it will not be possible to cancel the transaction without financial loss. If an investor wants to be able to reconsider his decision, this clause must be included in the contract from the outset.
The whole purchase process from the making of an offer to the transfer of ownership to the new owner can take several months. As for the payment of the full property value, it can be a lump sum or in installments as agreed with the seller.
Keep in mind that according to Austrian anti-money laundering laws, the lawyer, banker or notary supervising the purchase/sale is obliged to verify the origin of the funds to be invested in the property. Even before you conclude the transaction, you will have to prove that your funds have been obtained legally.
Casino premises and design
Whereas casinos used to be just places to play and nothing else, they are now becoming big entertainment complexes, where you can not only play games, but also have great food, or just have a good time. Although the future interior design depends entirely on the imagination and capabilities of the owner, there are certain standards for the organization of the interior space of a gambling house.
For example, in Austria, there is a special regulation, which clearly states that the casino premises should include customer service area (playing halls, cashier’s desk, currency exchange, places for relaxation, cloakroom) and service areas (break room for croupiers, room for security, safe room). Moreover, “visitors must be strictly prohibited from entering the service areas”.
A gambling hall is a room specially equipped for games. The number of gambling halls in a casino may vary, depending on the estimated number and status of visitors. For example, there may be one huge hall where many gaming tables are installed (this is a rare practice) or several smaller halls where the tables are grouped according to the type of game (roulette hall, etc.) or according to the size of the bets (VIP hall). The rooms must not be visible from the street.
In recent years, the casino has become obligatory to have a restaurant and a bar, where visitors can satisfy their hunger or just relax with friends. It has also become popular for large gambling houses to have concert venues and halls to host shows or performances by famous stars. The nature of the business requires another precondition – customer security.
Therefore, each casino has a special room for security, but its work should be invisible and unobtrusive to visitors.
A cash register is a special room where casino funds and game tokens are kept. It should meet high security requirements. The casino cash register is similar to a bank cash register. The casino insurance amount and internal documents are kept in a special safe room, for which security requirements are even more stringent. In addition, casino staff work is arranged in such a way, that the employees move by predetermined routes, excluding casual walking around the premises.
It is no secret that the success of any institution, including gambling houses, largely depends on its interior and room design. Visitors should be as cozy and comfortable as possible. And they should get that impression right at the entrance: in a solid establishment, customers do not have to make an effort to open a massive heavy door – it swings open in front of them. Everything from the foyer to the cloakroom should be tastefully arranged.
The design and styling of the casino floor play a major role. But first and foremost, the casino also needs to determine the optimal structure: where to locate the gaming rooms, the restaurant, the lounge, the cloakroom, the back office and so on. Everything must be thought through to the last detail. The main thing is to create a unique, one-of-a-kind institution. The experts believe that a casino is a complex mechanism that involves management, modern technology, automation of the process and the constant introduction of fresh ideas.